The Herald
Thomas Hamilton


The Herald

20 years of missed warnings that left Hamilton
free to kill

LUCY ADAMS and TOM GORDON October 04 2005  LINK

POLICE did not carry out routine checks on two decades of criminal intelligence about Thomas Hamilton which could have prevented the Dunblane massacre. LINK

Secret files released to the public for the first time yesterday reveal numerous criminal allegations were held on file against the man responsible for killing 16 children and their teacher, but officers failed to revoke his firearms certificate.

A report by the former deputy chief constable of Strathclyde Police showed investigations into Hamilton's behaviour and allegations of child abuse and impropriety with guns dated back to the early 1970s. LINK   However, these were not checked when he applied for his certificate to be renewed.

Hamilton walked into Dunblane Primary School's gymnasium on March 13, 1996 and opened fire using weapons he was licensed to use.

Also included in the 3000-plus files, was the revelation that the date was a final deadline for Hamilton paying council tax arrears of £228.98, and was the last day before the then Central Regional Council executed a warrant allowing it to freeze at source any wages he might have, and his bank account.

Lord Cullen's inquiry had already heard of the growing desperation of Hamilton as he struggled with rising debt and speculation about his sexuality.  A financial analysis showed he had total bank and building society assets of three pence, an overdraft of £6472, and owed £1500 to Barclaycard and £722 on a Debenhams charge card.  He had very little income.

The files from the inquiry into the massacre were to be kept confidential for 100 years to protect the families of the victims but, in the face of public pressure, ministers and the lord advocate decided to release them with the names of witnesses removed.
[Ed ~ The public were told that the reason for the (nonstatutory, therefore illegal) closure order was to protect the names of child sex abuse victims.]

They show a litany of allegations raised about Hamilton and failures by the police, procurators fiscal and local authorities to act upon them.

He was first granted a firearms certificate in 1977, "albeit during the 1970s he was investigated by police following allegations of indecent conduct towards boys", one of the files says LINK.  The Strathclyde Police report explains that responsibility for checking and disseminating intelligence held on Hamilton fell "between two stools" and that there was no evidence his file had been consulted by divisional commanders before approval.

The newly released information also indicates earlier intelligence and "pertinent details" on allegations were later removed from police files in line with their routine "weeding policy".

Contrary to firearms policy at the time, officers routinely failed to check his membership of gun clubs, ambiguities in his references, and intelligence held on him.

In August 1988, Hamilton is alleged to have made veiled threats to a woman by stating he had four guns and saying she should watch what she said to the police.  The report found this information was not contained in his file.

Later the same year, he is alleged to have handed out handguns and semi-automatic weapons to the sons of a family he knew.  This was reported to Lothian and Borders Police but neither a witness nor Hamilton were interviewed.

The files also reveal that, despite investigations by police into three of his boys' camps after allegations of verbal and physical abuse, the procurators fiscal took no proceedings.  In 1989, a police officer filed a report suggesting he had committed lewd and libidinous offences and called for a warrant to search his house for photos of boys forced to wear swimming trunks.  The fiscal said there was insufficient evidence. LINK

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Copyright © 2016 Billy Burns. All rights reserved.
Dunblane Whitewash
Dunblane City Sign
Scotland Map


Dunblane Public Inquiry
Dunblane Massacre
Read the full list in the Dunblane Whitewash catalogue. LINK
Dunblane Angels
St Blane's Church Dunblane
The stained glass window in St Blane's Church, Dunblane, which commemorates the victims of the 1996 massacre.
List of the victims of the Dunblane massacre
Victoria Clydesdale
Mhairi MacBeath
Charlotte Dunn
Melissa Currie
Emma Crozier
Kevin Hassell
Ross Irvine
David Kerr
Gwen Hodson/Mayor - schoolteacher
John Petrie
Hanna Scott
Joanna Ross
Sophie North
Emily Morton
Maegan Turner
Brett McKinnon
Abigail McLennan
Why did Lord Cullen try to bury William Burns' letters to him for 100 years? LINK